Britam has sunk into a record Sh9.1 billion net loss for the year ended December 2020 on poor performance of its asset management arm.
The loss is Britam’s second in three years; the company posted a Sh2.2 billion loss in 2018.
The latest loss comes just a year after the company made a record Sh3.5 billion after-tax profit in 2019 buoyed by higher insurance revenue and an appreciation of the value of its assets.
The loss was driven by the insurer’s investment loss provisions of Sh5.2 billion for its asset management fund while its listed equities performed poorly, leading to a fair valuation loss of Sh2.3 billion and property impairments of Sh2 billion.
“The results were further depressed by a provision for investment losses of Sh5.2 billion being the level of support to be offered to Britam Wealth Management Fund LLP, a Fund managed by Britam Asset Managers which is a fully owned subsidiary of Britam Holdings Plc,” Britam said in a statement.
“The unfavourable operating environment adversely impacted our investment in associate – HF Group Plc - contributing to the Group results, a share of loss at Sh823 million and a reduction in the value of this investment by Sh603 million.”
However, the firm’s earned premiums grew buoyed by good performance in its international insurance business.
Fund management fees
“Our Gross Earned Premiums (GEP) and fund management fees was up 4.2 percent to Sh28.8 billion from Sh27.7 billion in 2019,” the company said.
“This is attributed to the growth of our insurance revenues especially the international general insurance business which recorded an increase in GEP of 50 percent, contributing 28 percent of the Group’s GEP and a profit before tax of Sh832 million up from Sh38 million in 2019.”
Britam Group Managing Director Tavaziva Madzinga said the company is looking to grow its customer base by developing new targeted and customised products.
The Zimbabwean replaced long-serving Benson Wairegi at the helm of the company in February.
“Britam is well-placed to tap emerging opportunities with its underlying financial strength and a diversified business model,” Mr Madzinga said.
The company suspended payment of dividends for the year.